Recently, I’ve been given a limited taste of what it’s like to be a “single” parent. I am by no means a single parent – I have a wonderful and loving husband who adores both my son and me very much. However, he was gone for two and a half months, and I was on my own. I don’t live near family, and while I have good, supportive friends, they weren’t tending my home or my child.
The big adjustment was actually my husband returning. For me, in that brief period of time, I had all of the responsibilities of parenting and housekeeping, but no help. Although thankfully I wasn’t also working, the biggest issue I encountered was actually readjusting to having someone else in the house who wanted to make the major decisions. And we didn’t always agree!
This was a huge blow to me, and I had to learn to temper my anxiety all over again. I had to surrender half the reins of childcare to someone who, while he adores and loves my child, basically didn’t know him or his personality. My husband had effectively been gone more than half of our son’s short life at this point. Which was weird to think about.
And for all the worrying, hovering and advice I felt necessary to impart to my husband, it was all unnecessary. Because somehow, while I’d been busy becoming a mother, I’d forgotten how much fun it had been to get to know my son on my own. Watching my husband get to know our son on his own terms, and grow into his own role as a parent – and not the “Lizzie-directed” version I had initially been pushing – was a beautiful experience.
Parenting is hard. It is a monumental responsibility that comes with a 24/7 time card that you can’t punch out from.
I am lucky. I have someone with whom I can commiserate with when things get tough. I have someone I can rely on when I’m at my lowest and share the joy with when we’re at our all-time high. I have someone to help me make the tough decisions, someone to hold my hand while my son gets his shots (because it hurts me to see him hurt even just a little bit), someone to read him bedtime stories with me before we wish him sweet dreams. And while we don’t always agree on everything, the big decisions are made without fights or serious concessions. On the important things, we are on the same page. I’m told this is somewhat of a rarity, and that a lot of parents can get caught up on how to raise their children. I am lucky.
I’d love to hear from everyone else. What are the best parts of parenting with someone else? What are the worst? If you are parenting by yourself, what are the best and worst parts of that experience? Comment below, or share the post with someone else who might want to talk about their experiences.
– Monster Mama